Complete guide to the highlights of Koyasan Danjo Garan

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Danjo Garan is one of the two sacred sites of Koyasan. It is an important place where Kobo Daishi first started construction when he founded Koyasan. There are 19 buildings in the precincts, including Konpon Daito, the symbol of Koyasan, and its paired Saito, Kondo, the main hall where important events are held, and Fudodo, which is designated as a national treasure. In this article, we will introduce the highlights of Koyasan Danjo Garan for travelers from both overseas and within Japan.

For a comprehensive overview of the entire Koyasan, please refer to 「Highlights and access methods of Koyasan (Wakayama Prefecture)」.

Koyasan Danjo Garan(0)

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Kondo

Kondo is the main hall of the whole Koyasan and was built by Kobo Daishi. It used to be called the Auditorium. Important ceremonies are held here. The current building was rebuilt in 1932, although it was destroyed by fire several times.

Kondo: Highlights of Koyasan Danjo Garan(1)

Kondo: Highlights of Koyasan Danjo Garan(2)

Kondo: Highlights of Koyasan Danjo Garan(2)

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Kondo: Highlights of Koyasan Danjo Garan(2)

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To the west of the Golden Hall, there is a pine tree known as the "Toten no Matsu". It is said that Nyoho Shonin ascended to the Pure Land of Maitreya Bodhisattva from this pine tree.

Toten no Matsu: Highlights of Koyasan Danjo Garan(69)

Toten no Matsu: Highlights of Koyasan Danjo Garan(70)

Konpon Daito

It is said to have been completed in 887 as the main dojo of Shingon Esoteric Buddhism, spending two generations with Kobo Daishi and Shinzen Daitoku. The first Tahoto pagoda in Japan, it is the symbol of Koyasan. Inside, the womb Dainichi Nyorai is surrounded by the four Buddhas of the Kongo world, the 16 pillars are painted with 16 great bodhisattvas, and the eight ancestors are painted on the four corner walls, forming a three-dimensional mandala.

Konpon Daito: Highlights of Koyasan Danjo Garan(3)

Konpon Daito: Highlights of Koyasan Danjo Garan(4)

Konpon Daito: Highlights of Koyasan Danjo Garan(36)

Konpon Daito: Highlights of Koyasan Danjo Garan(37)

Konpon Daito: Highlights of Koyasan Danjo Garan(38)

Konpon Daito: Highlights of Koyasan Danjo Garan(39)

Konpon Daito: Highlights of Koyasan Danjo Garan(40)

In front of the Konpon Daito, there is the Daito Bell. The current bell, completed in 1547, is known as "Daito Bell" because it was the fourth largest bell in Japan at that time.

Daito Bell: Highlights of Koyasan Danjo Garan(66)

Daito Bell: Highlights of Koyasan Danjo Garan(67)

Daito Bell: Highlights of Koyasan Danjo Garan(68)

Saito

It is a Tahoto pagoda that is paired with the Konpon Daito. Inside, the Kongokai Dainichi Nyorai is surrounded by the four Buddhas of the Womb Realm. Although it is slightly smaller than the Konpon Daito, it is the largest wooden structure in Koyasan. In addition, the Dainichi Nyorai statue was made at the time of its foundation, making it the oldest existing Buddha statue on Mt. Koya.

Saito: Highlights of Koyasan Danjo Garan(5)

Saito: Highlights of Koyasan Danjo Garan(6)

Saito: Highlights of Koyasan Danjo Garan(41)

Saito: Highlights of Koyasan Danjo Garan(42)

Saito: Highlights of Koyasan Danjo Garan(43)

Rokkaku Kyuzo

This is a sutra storehouse built by the Empress to mourn the death of the Retired Emperor Toba. The current building was rebuilt in 1934. You can turn it by pressing the handle on the base of the sutra storehouse, and it is said that by turning it once, you can obtain the same merit as reciting the sutra once.

Rokkaku Kyuzo: Highlights of Koyasan Danjo Garan(7)

Rokkaku Kyuzo: Highlights of Koyasan Danjo Garan(8)

Rokkaku Kyuzo: Highlights of Koyasan Danjo Garan(35)

Fudodo

Built in the Kamakura period, it was originally located in Isshinindani, but was relocated to the Danjo Garan in 1908 after being dismantled and repaired. It is one of the oldest surviving structures on Koyasan and is designated as a national treasure. The statue of Fudo Myo-o and the statue of Hachidai Doji by Unkei were enshrined inside.

Fudodo: Highlights of Koyasan Danjo Garan(9)

Fudodo: Highlights of Koyasan Danjo Garan(10)

Fudodo: Highlights of Koyasan Danjo Garan(33)

Fudodo: Highlights of Koyasan Danjo Garan(34)

Miedo

Originally, this hall was used as the Buddha hall of Kobo Daishi, but after Kobo Daishi was enthroned, the image of Kobo Daishi drawn by Imperial Prince Shinnyo was enshrined, so it was named Miedo. It is considered to be the most important sanctuary in Koyasan, and it is usually not possible to visit, but you can visit the inside of the Miedo Hall after the Otaiya-houe is held once a year.

Miedo: Highlights of Koyasan Danjo Garan(11)

Miedo: Highlights of Koyasan Danjo Garan(12)

Miedo: Highlights of Koyasan Danjo Garan(13)

Sanko no Matsu

The pine tree located between the Kondo and the Miedo is known as the "Sanko no Matsu". It is said that when Kobo Daishi returned from China, he threw a Sankosho to find a suitable place to spread Shingon Buddhism, and it got caught in this pine tree at Koyasan. The fallen leaves of the Sanko no Matsu are taken home by visitors as auspicious items.

Sanko no Matsu: Highlights of Koyasan Danjo Garan(71)

Sanko no Matsu: Highlights of Koyasan Danjo Garan(72)

Chumon

Chumon has suffered several fires and was left with only the foundation stones remaining after the fire of 1843, but it was reconstructed in 2015 to commemorate the 1200th anniversary of the founding of Koyasan. In the Chumon, there were statues of the Four Heavenly Kings, but only Tamonten and Jikokuten, which were reconstructed during the Edo period, remained. Zochoten and Komokuten were rebuilt to coincide with the reconstruction of the Chumon, and now all Four Heavenly Kings are in place.

Chumon: Highlights of Koyasan Danjo Garan(14)

Chumon: Highlights of Koyasan Danjo Garanろ(46)

Chumon: Highlights of Koyasan Danjo Garan(47)

Chumon: Highlights of Koyasan Danjo Garan(15)

Chumon: Highlights of Koyasan Danjo Garan(27)

Chumon: Highlights of Koyasan Danjo Garan(16)

Chumon: Highlights of Koyasan Danjo Garan(28)

Miyashiro and Sanno-in

At the western end of the Danjo Garan, there is a shrine called Miyashiro, which was built during the founding of Koyasan to enshrine the deities Niu-myojin and Koya-myojin as the guardian gods of the area. Additionally, the Sanno-in was established as the worship hall for Miyashiro. At Sanno-in, an important ritual called Sanno-in Rissei involving esoteric Buddhist debates is held once a year.

Miyashiro: Highlights of Koyasan Danjo Garan(17)

Miyashiro: Highlights of Koyasan Danjo Garan(18)

Sanno-in: Highlights of Koyasan Danjo Garan(19)

Sanno-in: Highlights of Koyasan Danjo Garan(20)

Sanno-in: Highlights of Koyasan Danjo Garan(48)

Sanno-in: Highlights of Koyasan Danjo Garan(49)

Sanno-in: Highlights of Koyasan Danjo Garan(50)

Sanno-in: Highlights of Koyasan Danjo Garan(51)

Sanno-in: Highlights of Koyasan Danjo Garan(52)

Kujaku-do

The Kujaku-do was built in 1199 as a commemoration of the successful rainmaking prayers conducted by Engo. It was destroyed in a fire that originated from the Golden Hall in 1926 but was rebuilt in 1983. The principal image, the Kujaku Myoo created by Kaikei, is housed in the Reihokan Museum.

Kujaku-do: Highlights of Koyasan Danjo Garan(29)

Kujaku-do: Highlights of Koyasan Danjo Garan(30)

Kujaku-do: Highlights of Koyasan Danjo Garan(31)

Kujaku-do: Highlights of Koyasan Danjo Garan(32)

Junteido

The Junteido was established in 973 by Shizen Daitoku. The principal image, Juntei Kannon, was originally made by Kobo Daishi himself and initially placed in the dining hall, but was later moved to Junteido. After several destructions by fire, the current building was reconstructed in 1883.

Junteido: Highlights of Koyasan Danjo Garan(53)

Junteido: Highlights of Koyasan Danjo Garan(54)

Junteido: Highlights of Koyasan Danjo Garan(55)

Aizendo

The Aizendo was built in 1334 by the request of Emperor Go-Daigo, to pray for world peace, symbolized by the term "Shikai Seihei", and for the emperor's health and tranquility, represented by "Gyokutai Annon". The current building was reconstructed in 1848.

Aizendo: Highlights of Koyasan Danjo Garan(56)

Aizendo: Highlights of Koyasan Danjo Garan(57)

Aizendo: Highlights of Koyasan Danjo Garan(58)

Aizendo: Highlights of Koyasan Danjo Garan(59)

Daiedo

The Daiedo was built by Gotsuji Saiin Naishinno, a princess of Emperor Toba, to commemorate her late father. The current building was reconstructed in 1848.

Daiedo: Highlights of Koyasan Danjo Garan(21)

Daiedo: Highlights of Koyasan Danjo Garan(22)

Daiedo: Highlights of Koyasan Danjo Garan(23)

Sanmaido

The Sanmaido was established by Saiko, the sixth head priest of Kongobuji Temple. Originally located within the Sojiin precincts, it was moved to Danjo Garan and later repaired by the poet-priest Saigyo Hoshi.

Sanmaido: Highlights of Koyasan Danjo Garan(24)

Sanmaido: Highlights of Koyasan Danjo Garan(25)

Sanmaido: Highlights of Koyasan Danjo Garan(26)

The cherry tree in front of Sanmaido is known as the Saigyo-sakura, believed to have been planted by Saigyo Hoshi himself.

Saigyo-sakura: Highlights of Koyasan Danjo Garan(60)

Saigyo-sakura: Highlights of Koyasan Danjo Garan(61)

Toto

The Toto was founded in 1127 by the request of Shirakawa-in. Located just inside Danjo Garan from Jabara-michi, it was destroyed by fire in 1843 and remained unreconstructed for a long time until it was finally rebuilt in 1984 during the Showa era.

Toto: Highlights of Koyasan Danjo Garan(62)

Toto: Highlights of Koyasan Danjo Garan(63)

Toto: Highlights of Koyasan Danjo Garan(64)

Toto: Highlights of Koyasan Danjo Garan(65)

List of photos related to Koyasan Danjo Garan

Please see below for a list of photos related to Koyasan Danjo Garan.

Address and access method of Koyasan Danjo Garan

Address of Koyasan Danjo Garan

The address of Koyasan Danjo Garan is "152 Koyasan, Koya-cho, Ito-gun, Wakayama Prefecture".

Access method of Koyasan Danjo Garan

I will explain how to get to Koyasan Danjo Garan from Shin-Osaka Station.

Shin-Osaka Station

OsakaMetro Midosuji Line
15 minutes

Namba Station

Walking
8 minutes

Namba Station

Nankai Electric Railway Koya Line
80 minutes

Gokurakubashi Station

Nankai Electric Railway Koyasan Cable Car
5 minutes

Koyasan Station
Koyasan Station Bus Stop

Nankai Rinkai Bus
13 minutes

Kondo-mae Bus Stop

Short walk

Koyasan Danjo Garan

Official site

Official site about Koyasan Danjo Garan :

https://www.koyasan.or.jp/meguru/sights.html#danjogaran

Koyasan Danjo Garan(1)

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Thank you for reading to the end.

( Written by Tatsuo Ikura )